Story Dogs program assisting with literacy in CEWA Schools

17 March 2017

Several Western Australian Catholic schools have joined an innovative new program to assist with child literacy.

Story Dogs is a program designed to improve children’s reading and communication skills through reading to an unusual audience – dogs.

The children chosen for the program are usually Year 2 students between the ages of 7-8, and the dogs are accompanied by a volunteer trained to teach emergent readers, and books are chosen to suit the child’s reading level.

Reading sessions take place in quiet areas of the schools, outside the classroom or in school libraries, and take place one-on-one with the dog and its handler.

This method is based on the belief that learning to read is often less about intellectual limitation than about overcoming fears. In this way, animals are ideal reading companions, allowing children to proceed at their own pace without judgement, impatience or criticism.

Based on the Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) program in the United States, the Story Dogs program currently caters to over 880 children per week, with dog teams in 120 schools nationwide, including Catholic Education WA schools Assumption College Primary School, Mother Teresa Catholic College, St Francis Xavier Primary School and St Joseph’s Waroonga.

For more information visit the Story Dogs website.

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